How language makes you dumb

Photo Credit: The website of Jonathan Harris
Photo Credit: The website of Jonathan Harris

I’ve followed the works of many thinkers, writers and poets who left my country to live in other parts of the world. What I’ve noticed is that most of they created were nowhere near what they did before leaving. It was always a question for me why this happened: Was it because their concerns changed? Was it because they didn’t get appropriate feedback since they didn’t have their friends and peers around?
I still can’t verify any of those reasons, but I have recently found another possible one: Language.
Since I came to Australia, I have always been trying to think in English because I was told and I actually believe it is the best way to fully learn a language. Unfortunately, I’ve found out that this constant attempt has lowered the level of sophistication of my thoughts. I don’t think as deep or serious as before. In a way I’ve become DUMB.
The reason for this dumbness is (at least) twofold:

1) I am shy, I easily get embarrassed. That’s why I hate to make mistakes and appear stupid. So to avoid this embarrassment, a great amount of my thinking is devoted to my everyday, immediate needs and interactions: what should I tell that shopkeeper? Why didn’t I tell her/him that? I should have said this when I wanted to buy that.

2) My vocabulary is still poor. So I can’t always find the correct word for what I want to say. This problem becomes more obvious when the topic is very technical and there are very specific words for different concepts. So, either consciously or unconsciously, I avoid talking or thinking (which is still a talk) about technical or sophisticated problems because I don’t have the words for them. Therefore, by not thinking about them, I disregard them as my concerns. It’s like when you don’t have a smartphone, you don’t think about the right mobile apps you like to use.

I know time and constant practice (by reading and talking) can cure this problem, at least to some extent, but it gets much harder with age. If I was 18, I wouldn’t have read much and it would be my starting point to learn. But now, I must reread everything that I read before, but now with a much slower pace because it’s in a different language. Another solution would be, if I wasn’t me, to forget about all those books and concerns and to just try to learn how to enjoy the life!

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